Self-image: Implication for Teaching

I think it is important for teachers to take into account the development of the ‘self’ while teaching. This is different from ‘self-esteem’ though because there are many debates about the latter. However, the development of self (the image we form of ourselves, also known as self-image or self-concept) is strongly and positively related to the type of self-esteem one holds at a particular time.

My approach in developing the ‘self’ is embedded in the type of learning experienced by students in the classroom. I have realized through my observation and research (of children across settings, age level, and abilities) that humans develop a positive image of themselves as they gain control over themselves and their external environment (both social and physical). What do I mean? The more I can DO things (master skills or knowledge)…the more confidence I gain about my ability to be able to have or gain control over myself (functionally) and my environment (increase in self-efficacy). When I cannot DO the things that most people do well, I start looking down on my ‘self’, my abilities, and my existence. Hence, a teacher should focus on creating opportunities in which a student masters a particular knowledge or skill and move ahead with a more challenging skill or knowledge. This requires cognitive scaffolding and working together with the individual student. Confidence in mastering smaller tasks will enable the individual to undertake bigger tasks and the SUCCESS from one task to another serves as an internal motivating factor.

If I say I have a high level of self-esteem, I am actually telling you that that I am in control of myself and my surrounding (ability to do things)! This is also why many research find a strong positive connection between self-esteem and academic achievement.

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